There has been a lot of competition from hopeful start-ups looking to become the fabled ‘Youtube of virtual reality (VR)’ in the past few months. But despite describing itself as a ‘Youtube-style platform’ Vizor doesn’t count itself among those services. This isn’t a simple website looking to host non-interactive VR videos but instead an arguably more ambitious tool to both create and host a wide range of VR experiences. Next month the company will host a crowdsale in hopes of funding the platform.
VRFocus recently spoke to Vizor about the platform, including just how it works and the company’s plans for the future.
VRFocus: The 360 degree streaming space is starting to see a lot of competition, what helps Vizor stand out?
Vizor: For starters, Vizor isn’t a video streaming site. Vizor is all about real time experiences. In other words, in the same way that PlayStation games are not “video”, Vizor’s content is not video. We call what we host “experiences”, because they can be games, apps, or cinematically immersive, rail-based, interactive or noninteractive. We could also host noninteractive video content, but, aside from the presumed initial pornography explosion, we think this is actually going to be the least compelling use of VR.
Besides, as you say, it’s also the most heated part of the space and we think people are ignoring where things are actually going. Cinema becomes more like games, while games become more like cinema. They will finally merge as a new type of media in VR, and who knows where that will lead, but especially given that Hollywood is starting to revive dead actors with computers, I am pretty confident that that pre-recorded video will not be the predominant presentation method for this content.
VRFocus: You’ve mentioned the launch of your own digital currency. Why take this option instead of regular purchases?
Vizor: A custom token offers a lot of benefits, especially for a circular “create & consume “platform like ours. First, the benefits of blockchain tokens should be stated: Some people call it programmable money, and that is not far from the truth. The speed and efficiency by which you can move this stuff around is pretty remarkable.
But if that were the only reason, then we could simply accept Bitcoin and be done with it. Actually we want to incentivize and reward certain behaviors, such as creating high-quality content. This would for be difficult and costly for us to do in Bitcoin, dollars, or Euros.
VRFocus: There are a handful of videos already on Vizor. Which ones do you think best showcase the platforms potential?
Vizor: It’s a difficult question for us to answer! I don’t think that anything on the site at the moment really shows off the full potential. With over 200 plugins in our content creation tool, Vizor Create, the potential is only just beginning to be explored. If you visit the page for “Foggy Landscape” for example (http://vizor.io/vizor_foggylandscape ) you can actually remix this experience, changing anything you like and re-publishing it.
That said, here are a few interesting experiences currently on our platform:
http://vizor.io/he3jei29fjE7 — Bulwarowa Street Apartment (apartment viewer in VR, for real estate)
http://vizor.io/iK4tHiUb7K1k — Leap VR collage, a WebVR demo that works with Leap Motion
VRFocus: What kinds of content do you anticipate hosting on Vizor in the future? Will it include feature films?
Vizor: I don’t think it will include feature films. We may host something that approximates film, but it will actually be whatever that next-generation “thing” is that is the hybrid of movie-making and immersive game-making.
VRFocus: When do you anticipate Vizor reaching a sustainable level with plenty of content?
Vizor: That really depends on the effective rollout of compatible headsets. Right now Oculus still doesn’t have a fixed date for theirs. If headsets get rolled out in the millions in 2015, then I suppose by 2016 we will really be rolling.
VRFocus: Vizor works in a browser on PC. Are you anticipating launching your own app for Google Cardboard and Gear VR viewing?
Vizor: We are based on browser technology (WebGL), so until the browsers on those platforms support WebGL with VR, we cannot support them either. Luckily there have been many discussions between browser makers and VR enthusiasts about this, and I’m confident that we’ll see the major platforms covered in time. And where they are, we are.
VRFocus: How do you plan to expand Vizor with the arrivial of new HMDs such as the consumer Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus?
Vizor: Hmm, can you maybe be more specific? I’m not sure about Project Morpheus, since the details about that are such a secret, but our assumption is that these platforms will bring a lot of new content and potential to our platform.